Jon Ossoff Smacks Down David Perdue Over Failed COVID-19 Stimulus Package
President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign the latest COVID-19 economic stimulus bill unless direct payments are increased from $600 to $2,000 has thrown a wrench into the two runoff Senate elections in Georgia – the outcomes of which will determine partisan control of Congress’s upper chamber.
On Saturday, Jon Ossoff, the Democrat challenging incumbent Republican David Perdue, wrote a letter to television stations in Atlanta demanding that they cease airing a Perdue campaign ad, arguing that it misleads voters about Perdue’s job performance as well as Ossoff’s record on coronavirus relief.
“Jon Ossoff opposed passing COVID relief and encouraged Democrats to block additional aid for months, but Senator Perdue never gave up,” the ad states. “Perdue again delivered real, meaningful help for Georgians; $900 billion in new COVID relief; direct checks to Georgians; critical funding for vaccine distribution, small businesses, public schools, and help for folks out of work. Ossoff obstructed. Perdue delivered.”
Jon @Ossoff encouraged Democrats in Congress to put politics ahead of relief.
But I never stopped fighting. More relief is on the way, Georgia.
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) December 22, 2020
In his letter to the networks, Ossoff said that Perdue’s assertion that he had”delivered relief” was “indisputably false” because the president has not yet added his signature to the legislation. Ossoff also disputed Perdue’s accusation that he “obstructed,” as he is not a member of the United States Senate. And while he did refer to the $600 as a “joke,” Ossoff conceded that he would have voted for it.
Some Senate Republicans, like Roy Blunt of Missouri, have predicted that the president’s call for $2,000 checks has no chance of passing.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has also voiced his opposition.
But a fracture has emerged within the GOP caucus.
Georgia’s other incumbent Republican Senator, Kelly Loeffler, said this week that she is open to Trump’s idea as long as the additional costs are offset with spending cuts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Wednesday.
“I certainly support redirecting any wasteful spending to be very targeted at families and businesses who have been impacted by this virus through no fault of their own,” Loeffler said. “I’ll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending for that, yes.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced his support for bigger payments after playing a round of Christmas golf with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Friday.
“After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection,” Graham wrote on Twitter. “Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people.”
Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 26, 2020
Recent polling has shown that both of Georgia’s contests are locked in virtual dead heats.
The House of Representatives will vote on a stand-alone bill authorizing the $2,000 payments on Monday. If it fails in the Senate, and Trump either refuses to sign or vetoes the original legislation, the federal government will shut down on Tuesday.